Saturday, January 21, 2017

Getting Curious!

It was another busy week in 4L.

In Unit, we continued our investigation of Ancient Egypt. After our workshop on Ancient Egyptian writing; the discovery and significance of the Rosetta Stone, we set out to create our own mini version. First we chose a word that represented something we value and wrote it in three different languages, just like the actual Rosetta Stone. The languages on our stone consisted of: English, hieroglyphics, and our mother tongue. Then, I enlisted a few volunteers to mix together batches of salt dough for our 'stone'.

Next, we got to work 'carving' our messages on our stones. We, of course, enjoyed playing with the dough as much as we did creating our Rosetta Stones! Finally, we left our stones to dry and took home our own little piece of 4th grade history.

On Wednesday, we collaborated with 4A once again to participate in two more Ancient Egyptian workshops. The workshop in 4A this week focused on Ancient Egyptian gods, goddesses and mythology. The students began with a brief discussion of what myths are. They then explored how geography might influence a civilization's mythology.  Using maps of present day Egypt and Ancient Egypt, the students tuned into the importance of the Nile River and its emphasis in many Ancient Egyptian myths.

The students were then invited to read about different gods and goddesses and worked in small groups to create myths or legends tying in what they knew about Ancient Egyptians and their beliefs. Once they had composed their myth, small groups presented their creations through dramatic performances.

The workshop in 4L invited students to explore Ancient Egyptian mummification. We began with a short TEDEd video on the mummification process.  The students watched with a purpose to find the big idea and then share this big idea using the 'Headlines' Visible Thinking Routine.

We then decided to try our hand at mummification by 'mummifying' an apple slice! We used a combination of salt and baking soda (as close as we could get to natron) and used the scientific method to document our experiment. We understood after watching the video that mummification is on an instant process but takes some time, so we have placed our apple slices in a dark place to be uncovered after one week. We look forward to discovering the results to determine if our hypotheses were correct.

Finally, we spent some time researching different elements involved in the death rituals of Ancient Egyptians. We explored amulets, sarcophagi, canopic jars, Books of the Dead and Weighing of the Heart ceremonies.

We spent time throughout the rest of the week reading about various ancient civilizations. The students were given free time to explore books alone or with friends and decided to begin documenting questions they generated as they read. This sparked an interesting conversation about how effective research happens in 4L. About half of us determined that we like to read first and then GET CURIOUS once we've read something that grabs our attention. The other half of us decided that we tend to do the exact opposite- we GET CURIOUS and then like to read to search for our answers. Since Unit 3 focuses on the attitude of  CURIOSITY and the Learner Profile of INQUIRER, we'll be spending time developing both of these skills. 

In math this week, we continued our work with decimals. We spent a lot of time exploring how to visually represent decimals compared to the one or whole to understand more deeply what a decimal is. The students worked with base-ten block manipulatives as a hands-on tool to help them add, subtract, read and write decimals to the hundredths. 

Students 'build' the problem 0.76 + 0.2 with base-ten blocks to open up a discussion of the correct solution to this number sentence

Veronika works with base-ten blocks while Steven uses a white board and a paper-pencil algorithm he prefers

Eva and Yigit build decimal addition and subtraction problems

In language arts this week, we spent some time with the 6-Trait Writing Rubric. In pairs, students took one trait and defined it for the class. Here is what they came up with:

  • Ideas—the main message 
  • Organization—the structure of the piece 
  • Voice—the personal flavour of the author 
  • Word Choice—the vocabulary a writer chooses 
  • Sentence Fluency—the rhythm and flow of the language 
  • Conventions—the mechanical correctness (editing)

Shourya and Nora, Migle and Antanas read through pieces of the Six-Trait rubric with the goal of defining this trait

Gerda and Aleksandras explain what the trait 'Word Choice' is really all about
We then each identified which trait we thought we needed to work most on and went into our writing drafts to revise focused on this one identified trait. 

Later in the week, we completed this writing prompt: Every day you pass a door. It’s always closed and locked. One day, as you pass, you notice that the door is open. You step inside. Write a story about what was on the other side of that door.

Gerda and Sofija compose their responses to the narrative prompt
We then referred back to our 6-Trait rubric tool to help us revise and edit our work. 

On Thursday we visited Tymo Park with 4A. It had snowed in the morning and made our sledding hill perfect for the afternoon! When we arrived at the park, we discovered that someone had left us a snow wall. The students instantly utilised this new feature or prop into their play. Along with sledding and snow forts, the students also spent time tackling the slippery climb up the big hill!  

On Friday during our class meeting, we shared our peer appreciations. Once again I was reminded of how fortunate I am to get to work with such a fantastic and caring group of children! They were so generous and kind to one another, and it set such a positive tone for our day. Each child received their appreciation card to keep. 

4L feeling all warm and fuzzy after receiving their appreciations

We were delighted to celebrate our friend Eva's 10th birthday this week! We wish her a wonderful year ahead. 
Celebrating Eva's 10th birthday! 

Finally, we learned that there will be a new addition to our class. We look very forward to welcoming our new friend, Domantas, to 4L next Tuesday! 

1 comment:

  1. Hello, I wish I could be a student in your class- you are learning so many interesting and exiting things:)!! Rasa